Extraordinary scenes yesterday afternoon at the Royal Opera House.
A packed Bank Holiday crowd were settling in their seats for a Don Carlo matinée when an announcement was made of a change of plan. Kristin Lewis, singing Elisabetta, had fallen ill an hour before the performance and been taken to hospital. There was no understudy as Kristin was covering for another singer and this was the end of the run.
It was announced that part of the cast would sing 90 minutes of highlights and the audience would be fully refunded. The result was that excerpts from Acts 1&2 were performed in front of the curtain and all of Act 3 fully staged, with conductor Bertrand de Billy calling out the next number to the orchestra. Acts 4 and 5 were omitted.
Veterans in the orchestra said they had never known anything like that happen before.
press photo: ROH